It's happens to everyone: you suddenly realize that essay you thought was due in two weeks is actually due tonight. How are you going to manage to get it finished in time? Fortunately, no matter what you're writing about, there are a few things you can do to make sure you're able to complete your essay in time. Here's what you need to know about writing your essay in the eleventh hour.

Outline Thoroughly

Don't underestimate the power of a good outline. An outline will show you exactly what you need to touch upon in your essay. More importantly, it will allow you to stay on track and organized as you write. Begin with a strong introduction and move from there. Your essay's points and arguments should be clearly laid out in your outline.

Let it All Out

Consider writing down everything you possibly have to say about the topic. Some even call this technique "word vomiting" because you just go, go, go. Don't worry about punctuation or making sense. Just get it all out. Once you've written all that you wanted to include in your essay, you'll be able to cut back on what you've written, edit it, and reorganize it according to your outline if you've already finished it by this point. If you haven't got your outline figured out yet, this is also an excellent time to do it. Now that you have a bit more to work with, you can better organize the flow of your arguments since they're all laid out on the page.

Remember to Use Your Voice

When you're writing, don't forget to include your voice. Maryville University suggests, "include aspects of your personal thoughts and experiences, keep your focus narrow by not covering too many topics, [and] avoid formal or stodgy language and instead rely on your own voice.” If you try too hard to sound like someone else, or use vocabulary that sounds too over the top, your teacher will notice the difference, and that's not always a good thing. Often when teachers see a shift in voice in an essay, it's a dead giveaway for plagiarism. So be sure to properly cite, quote or paraphrase your sources and keep your voice consistent so you don't get flagged.

Skip the Fluff

Make sure you don't use a bunch of filler words just to extend your word count. Believe it or not, many teachers will notice this and may even mark you down because of it. Aim to keep your sentences punchy and concise. Don't include unnecessary verbiage just to extend the paper. Keep in mind that as long as your arguments are clear and well thought-out, many professors will ignore the word count requirement if your it's obvious you put some hard work into the paper.

When you're writing at the last minute, make sure you focus on crafting a no-nonsense paper. Whether you're a strong writer or you're just getting the hang of things, it's possible to create something your teacher will love at the last minute. Just don't forget to do a final read through for any airheaded typos or mistakes. With these steps, you'll be ready to conquer any topic on short notice. Just be sure not to make these last minute papers a habit, or else you’ll lose your sanity sooner rather than later.